Panthers outlast Wolves in nail-biter

Hannah Newman's two-run hit in the seventh propels Mt. Pleasant over No. 14 W-MU

Mt. Pleasant’s Hannah Newman sets to hit a line-drive into center field that would put the Panthers up 4-2 in the seventh inning on Tuesday night. (Andy Krutsinger/The Union)
Mt. Pleasant’s Hannah Newman sets to hit a line-drive into center field that would put the Panthers up 4-2 in the seventh inning on Tuesday night. (Andy Krutsinger/The Union)

WINFIELD — No. 14 (1A) Winfield-Mt. Union had given up just four runs all year before Tuesday night, but Mt. Pleasant’s found their bats at the right times and knocked the Wolves off 4-3 on their own home field.

With the game tied at 2-2 in the top of the seventh, Panther junior Hannah Newman had the clutchest hit of the night, sending a two-run single to center field.

“I was thinking, ‘I better hit this ball,’” said Newman, who delivered her eventual game-winner with two outs and two strikes, and wound up on second base on a throw home. “It felt really, really good.”

After three scoreless innings, Mt. Pleasant scored the first two runs of the game in the top of the fourth. Newman scored on a throwing error after a Samantha Broeker single, and Grace Kelley delivered an RBI single. That put the Panthers up 2-0, but the lead didn’t last long.

In the bottom of the fourth, W-MU ace Madie Anderson helped herself. Two batters after a Carlee Sloan single, Anderson laced a line drive to right, which just got over the fence for a two-run home run. Just like that, it was all tied up again, this time at 2-2.

Anderson would trade solid innings all night with Mt. Pleasant ace Sydni Coleman. The two teams finished the night with just four hits apiece.

Newman’s two-run single came after a W-MU error. The Wolves made four errors on the night, an uncharacteristic number for their team, and the Panthers capitalized, scoring three unearned runs in the win.

“It comes down to the small things,” said W-MU head coach Walt Jackson. “We’ve just got to be on our game every single night, and not overlook anybody. Their record isn’t quite what they’d like for it to be, but they’re a 4A team and they come to play every night.”

The Wolves still had plenty of fight left in them in the bottom of the seventh. Trailing 4-2 with one out, Jobey Malone hammered a solo shot to left field for W-MU’s second homer of the game. That cut the lead to 4-3, tensing things up once again.

W-MU had a runner on first and the potential winning run at the plate with two outs, but Coleman forced a pop up to Kelley at short, and Mt. Pleasant survived with their second win in the last three games.

After the game, Panther coach Troy Mears said he was pleased with a full effort from his squad, and says he hopes Mt. Pleasant is starting to find their stride at the right time.

“That’s one of the best pitchers we’ll see in the whole state,” Mears said, referencing Anderson. “That was very clutch for Hannah, a two-out single. That’s huge.”

Even with the loss, Coach Jackson said he enjoyed playing against some familiar faces. Jackson coached under Mears at New London and coached Coleman when she was in elementary school.

“It’s a lot of fun playing against those guys,” Jackson said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for them.”

Mt. Pleasant moved to 4-12 overall with the win. They’ll be at Davis County tonight (Monday) for a doubleheader.

W-MU is now 7-3 on the season. They’ll look to stay in second place in the Southeast Iowa Super Conference’s North Division tonight when they hit the road to take on Wapello. Both teams have a 5-2 conference record.